Reflecting beyond the result
MICHIGAN CITY — For Marquette boys soccer coach A.J. Monroe, Thursday’s 3-2 loss to Class A No. 5 Boone Grove that closed a rugged six-game, regular-season-ending period for his sixth-ranked Blazers was the least of his concerns.
“My comment to the seniors was to set this game aside for the moment to spend some time thinking about your last four years and your body of work,” Monroe said before 11 seniors were honored after the game.
“We get so caught up in sectional games and such, but you’ve played 16 regular-season games for four years. That’s a lot of soccer to be played and that’s a huge body of work. It’s more about, ‘what were you like as a freshman?’ and ‘what are you now as a senior?’”
The Blazers fell behind 2-0 inside of the first 20 minutes, but a bouncing ball in front found senior David Schreur to cut the Boone Grove lead in half before the intermission and give the Blazers (12-2-2) some momentum.
“I think what we struggled with in that first half was turning and being a little slow with the ball through the middle,” Monroe said. “We probably could’ve moved the ball wide more and play more east and west and then go. When we did that, we generated some good chances. They played with a tight back three and they did a pretty good job of tracking back well against our flanks. No. 6 [Josh Dragomer] could clear away anything. He’s really good. At halftime, we talked about it, we sorted it all out and we had a lot of corner kicks, free kicks and goal kicks in the second half.”
Trailing against the Wolves (12-3-1) wasn’t new for the Blazers. They were down 1-0 early on the road last year before finding an equalizer, only to get gashed by a late Boone winner to seal the deal in the two sides’ late-season contest.
“We kinda worked our way into the sectional last year and we’re like, ‘we’re good, we’re good’, and I think this game is really good for us to be down a couple goals and we were able to feel it physically and mentally,” Monroe said. “It was good to have this experience being down two and having to fight back.”
Similar to the start of the match, an early second-half goal inside of the first three minutes put the Wolves up 3-1 in the 43rd minute after a weird deflection ricocheted off Wolves forward Logan Tatalovich and just snuck past Blazers goalkeeper Liam Monroe.
“I think the one big thing about it all that was hurtful is three minutes into the second half, you give up a goal right after halftime. Bad clearance, bad clearance, and then a ball that barely hit the side of the net,” Monroe said. “That will deflate you. You’re geared up and raring to go, you’re down 2-1 and then there’s this and it’s like, ‘Wow, that just happened.’”
The Blazers once again scraped their way back into the contest after trailing by a pair of goals thanks to a strong effort from junior forward Hugo Lopez that drew a point to the penalty shot from the head official and senior Jon Beglin fired home a shot past Wolves goalkeeper Quinn Walker to make it 3-2 with a shade over 18 minutes to play.
“Those things like that weird goal happen, but I think heading into the rest of the season, we just have to realize who we are, what we want to do and just do it for that full time,” Monroe said.
Marquette faces Washington Township on Tuesday in the LaVille Sectional.